Ryan Leaf compares himself to Johnny Manziel

By Alex Butler  |  Feb. 6, 2016 at 11:48 AM
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CLEVELAND, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- On a weekend when even non-football fans will be glued to TV's around the world, Johnny Manziel has been the biggest draw.

Or at least his recent activity could fill enough newspapers to stretch from San Francisco to Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, the site of Super Bowl 50.

Now a former draft 'bust' is comparing himself to the in-and-out of rehab, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.

On Friday, Leaf spoke with The Afternoon Show with Tim Cowlishaw and Matt Mosley on KESN-FM. On the show, Leaf said he sees himself in the 23-year-old.

"It's like a mirror. It really is," Leaf said. "I listen to and I hear stuff that's being said and what's going on, and it's like a mirror to me. I can relate to certain things. I called my old agent, Dave Dunn, and I got his agent's contact info and I reached out. I don't know what that meant or anything. There's a solution. There always is. But it's so hard to see when you're on this pedestal and you think you don't need help."

Leaf was selected No. 2 in the 1998 NFL Draft, after Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Leaf played in 25 career games and completed less than half of his passes. He also served time in prison, before his 2014 release.

"You don't want to be vulnerable because you're this big, strong football player, and help means weak. And it doesn't. Asking for help might be the strongest thing you will ever do," Leaf said. "So it's hard because it was so fun to watch him. He was a great college quarterback, and he's very capable and people want to cheer for him. And now, Cleveland dislikes him so much to the point that -- like San Diego just went on me to a point where you just got to get out of town. But me going to get out of town and getting a new start, it didn't work for me there."

"I couldn't restart it, and I'm worried that he's not going to catch on somewhere else and be as successful as he's being as capable of being. I hope he can."

Manziel made news recently when multiple sources confirmed his likely exit from the Cleveland Browns, his father said he thinks he is "suicidal," and he faced allegations of domestic violence against a former girlfriend.

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